Globally-acclaimed Japanese film maker Akira Kurosawa, whose award-winning cinematic masterpieces inspired such classic Hollywood movies as Star Wars (The Hidden Fortress), The Magnificent Seven (Seven Samurai) and A Fistful of Dollars (Yojimbo) is being honored through the naming of Anaheim University’s Akira Kurosawa School of Film.
On 23 March, 2009 Anaheim University will be launching an online digital film school in honor of film director, film producer and screenwriter Kurosawa at an event called "The Cherry Blossom Gala". The online film school is being established for potential filmmakers throughout the world and endeavors to enroll students in online certificate and MFA programs in digital filmmaking commencing September 2009.
Anaheim University chief communications officer David Bracey said, "23 March would have been Akira Kurosawa’s 99th birthday, and the Cherry Blossom Gala and Akira Kurosawa Tribute will kick off a year-long worldwide tribute to the late, great filmmaker. As he has been revered by such masters of the silver screen as George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, film directors, actors and media from the U.S. and Japan are expected to be in attendance. Kurosawa is a film industry icon and this promises to be a star-studded spectacular."
The Gala, which is organized and co-hosted by Anaheim University, the Academia Foundation, the Kurosawa Family and the AK100 Project, will be held at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The Japanese-themed entertainment includes a Japanese art and cultural exhibition, a kimono show, and traditional dancers.
One of the highlights is a film concert during a condensed screening of Kurosawa’s Academy Award-winning "Ran", when renowned Japanese female conductor Tomomi Nishimoto will conduct the Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra. A special tribute to the late American TV and film actress and star of the 1988 film "Tokyo Pop," Carrie Hamilton (daughter of actress and comedian Carol Burnett), as well as a few important individuals who influenced and contributed to the development of the School of Film will also be held.